Traditional Nursing Homes are much different today than the dreaded institution of long ago. Even the term “nursing home” is being phased out as these facilities are being defined by one of two categories; Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) and Intermediate Care Facility (ICF). Many of these facilities offer both levels of care under the same roof.
A Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) is the highest level of care available. This is an institutional setting with a hospital feel. Rooms may be private or shared. Skilled Care is for those who need rehabilitation or nursing services with the expectation of improvement and discharge from the Skilled Nursing to a lower level of care. Medicare Part A or HMO insurance coverage pays for a skilled stay as long as coverage requirements are met.
An Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) is for those who need long term custodial care. An ICF setting should be a last resort for someone needing long term care. Usually, the residents living in an ICF setting have medical needs that can't be adequately met by other levels of care.
Typically, the cost for these levels of care is the highest of all Long Term Care options. The cost can range from $7000-$15,000 per month. Many residents in nursing facilities have either Medicare or Medicaid coverage due to these significant costs. Long Term Care Insurance will typically cover an ICF setting if qualifications are met.
Nursing Homes are surveyed once a year by the state licensing department. The results of these inspections can be found at www.medicare.gov/nhcompare.